Selected Shorts: Tales of Terror from Edgar Allan Poe

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“I have missed my turnings on strange mountain roads in the early hours of the morning because I was too carried away by listening to someone…reading Poe stories.”

Best-selling fantasy writer Neil Gaiman joins SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti for a celebration of that master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe was born in Boston in 1809. and became one of the top writers of his day. 

Despite his fame, he remained poor and struggled throughout his life with alcoholism. But out of Poe’s misery sprung an amazing imagination. He wrote about love and hate, fear and death, and the mystery and brevity of human existence. And he has influenced countless artists and writers, including Gaiman, who has been a fan since being given an anthology of Poe’s stories as a boy.

Gaiman says he had a revelation when he realized that Poe’s sometimes tortuous prose sounded wonderful read aloud.  He gives us a sampling in this talk with Tinti, which you can listen to here:

Poe is credited with the invention of the modern detective story in his work “The Murders at the Rue Morgue,” but is also well known for a handful of gothic stories such as “The Pit & the Pendulum” and “The Cask of Amontillado.”

On this program we’ll hear gripping readings of two of his other classics, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat,” by Terrence Mann and Rene Auberjonois, as well as an excerpt from “The Raven,” which Gaiman says was virally transmitted during Poe’s lifetime because people enjoyed reading it aloud so much.  It’s performed here by Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Harris Yulin, and Isaiah Sheffer.

“The Tell-Tale Heart,” performed by Terrence Mann

“The Black Cat,” performed by Rene Auberjonois

“The Raven,” performed by Rene Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer, and Harris Yulin

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at

Announcing the 2013 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize.  Check this link for details.